Success Story:  SIMPCO completes LEPC GIS mapping application

Plan Purpose:

Emergency Management teams use chemical type, weather conditions, and incident details to accurately determine safe zones and potential evacuation procedures during and after hazardous materials incidents.  A screenshot sent to a mobile device, as previously practiced, limited details available to responders.  Emergency Management Agency coordinators (EMAs) sought the development of a tool that would allow varying levels of information to be immediately available and have the capacity to update as contributing factors may change.

Project Background: 

A three-phased project, the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) contracted with SIMPCO to develop a mapping program that would provide EMAs an interactive map to be used when responding to hazardous materials incidents.  Components considered in the development of the program were field accessibility, display of variable levels of information, 24-hour access, incorporation of unique and/or privileged data, and compatibility with contracted Haz Mat Response Team systems.  Interactive components consist of sortable data layers including:
  • Critical facility locations
  • Tier II facilities
  • Medical facilities
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Pipeline data
  • Railroad information
  • Incident history
  • Chemical links
  • Roadways
  • Waterways
  • Water resources (wells, surface water intake, etc.)
  • Fire hydrant locations (as available)
  • Truck traffic data
Multiple layers of information are accessible through the application including data drawn from recent LEPC projects.  Data on observed truck traffic patterns come from the LEPC’s 2018 Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study.

Future Impact: 

Through collaboration with the Region’s contracted Hazardous Materials Response Team, EMAs are able to make preliminary decisions while still on route to an incident, preparing local responders.  Once on the scene, EMAs have the information to make precise decisions regarding the protection of residents and property in potentially volatile situations.  The mapping program ensures both the EMAs and contracted Haz Mat Response Teams have the same information to govern the decision making process.
For more information on hazard mitigation & control planning, contact Regional Planner, Dawn Kimmel.  To request GIS mapping services please contact Regional Planner, Gabriel Appiah.

Success Story: Housing Trust Fund Grant Completed

SIMPCO collaborated with the Western Iowa Community Improvement Housing Trust Fund (WICIRHTF) to complete owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects utilizing Housing Trust Fund dollars set aside by state legislation.  Funding also included a 25% local match provided by participating counties.  Funding was used for direct low-to-moderate-income owner-occupied housing rehabilitation. 

Plan Purpose:  The purpose of the Housing Rehabilitation Program is to assist income-eligible homeowners with health or safety repairs to allow the owner to continue living in the home as well as provide energy and resource conservation.  Carrying out housing rehabilitation activities is to preserve the housing stock in our communities while ensuring that members of the community are living in safe and habitable environments.

Future Impact:  The program has assisted 15 homeowners.  Rehabilitation items included roof replacement, new siding, new windows, electrical updates, plumbing updates, and radon mitigation.

To find out more or to inquire about how your community can participate in owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects or to inquire about an application, contact Amanda Harper, SIMPCO Housing Manager.

Success Story: Hinton Safe Routes to School Plan

SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Hinton, Iowa and Hinton Community School District to complete the 2018 – 2019 Safe Routes to School Plan.

Plan Purpose: The purpose of the Hinton Safe Routes to School Plan is to promote safe routes for children to walk or bicycle to and from school and activities. Safe Routes to School is a national movement to make it safe, convenient and fun for children to walk or bike to school.

Future Impact:

  • A better understanding of the barriers to safe routes and recommended action steps to improve safe routes for children to walk or bicycle to and from school in Hinton
  • Identified action steps to improve safe routes to school in Hinton
  • Increased ability to implement and leverage funding for safe routes projects
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Hinton.

The Hinton Safe Routes to School Plan can be viewed online: click here

To find out more or how your community can develop a Safe Routes to School Plan, please contact Regional Planning Director, Jake Heil.  Funding to develop a Safe Routes to School Plan is available through the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA), please contact SIMPCO staff to find out more.

Success Story: Remsen Active Transportation Plan

SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Remsen, Iowa, and Remsen Schools to complete the 2018-2019 Remsen Active Transportation Plan.  Active Transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation such as walking, bicycling, roller-blading, skating, or cross-country skiing and accessibility for wheel chairs, walkers, strollers or other human-powered wheeled devices.

 

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the Remsen Active Transportation Plan is to:

  • Promote active transportation modes and accessibility of sidewalks and trails in Remsen
  • Connect Remsen neighborhoods
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • Increase levels of physical activity for community members

Future Impact: 

  • A better understanding of existing conditions in Remsen and possible priorities to improve active transportation in Remsen
  • Identified goals to improve active transportation in Remsen
  • Increased ability to implement and leverage funding for active transportation projects in Remsen
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Remsen

The Remsen Active Transportation Plan can be viewed online: click here

To find out more or how your community can develop an Active Transportation Plan, please contact Regional Planning Director, Jake Heil.  Funding to develop an Active Transportation is available through the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA), please contact SIMPCO staff to find out more.

Success Story: SIMPCO completes the 2020 – 2024 Passenger Transportation Plan (PTP)

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the Passenger Transportation Plan  (PTP) is to:
  • Identify the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes;
  • Provide strategies for meeting these needs and;
  • Prioritizing transportation services for funding and implementation.

Plan Background 

Per Federal requirements, the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA)  developed the plan through the SIMPCO Transportation Advisory Group (TAG).   Information included in the PTP features the following:
  • Existing demographic and socioeconomic characteristics
  • Existing transportation needs and challenges
  • Identification of transportation priorities
  • Inventory of essential community facilities
  • Inventory of funding opportunities
  • Inventory of existing transportation providers
  • Proposal of strategies
  • Status of previous and current projects

Future Impact: 
The PTP serves as a catalyst to improve transportation and mobility through coordinated planning. The intended outcomes of the PTP include:

  • Improvement on transportation services
  • Increase in passenger transportation coordination
  • Creating awareness of unmet needs
  • Development of new working partnerships
  • Assisting decision-makers, advocates, and consumers in understanding the range of transportation options available
  • Developing justification for future passenger transportation investments
  • Saving dollars and elimination of overlapping services

The SIMPCO MPO and SRTPA Passenger Transportation Plan can be viewed online: click here

To find out more or to participate in the SIMPCO Transportation Advisory Group (TAG), please contact Regional Planner, Dawn Kimmel.

Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Arthur, Iowa to collect Geographic Information System (GIS) data on existing water facilities in the city.

Plan Purpose: The purpose of the project was to collect additional GIS information and improve the accuracy of the existing water infrastructure inventory in the City of Arthur. 

Project Background:  The project involved the collection of GPS coordinates of the existing water shut-off valves and fire hydrants.  A field survey was conducted in the fall of 2018.  ESRI ArcGIS collector app and Garmin GPS receiver were used to collect the GPS coordinates of the existing water shut-off valves and fire hydrants in the City of Arthur.

Future Impact:

  • Enable the city to easily identify the location of water facilities for maintenance.
  • Helps the city to maintain up to date and accurate water infrastructure inventory.
  • The project will enable the city to easily access GIS data to inform the city council’s decision.

To learn more, contact Gabriel Appiah, SIMPCO Regional Planner.


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with U.S. EDA and 27 local sponsors to complete the U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Economic Development Study

Plan Purpose:  The final completion of the four-lane U.S. Highway 20 in the Siouxland region, in November 2018, creates many opportunities for the counties and communities along the corridor. This study records the Siouxland region’s economic development opportunities associated with the U.S. Highway 20 corridor that extends across the nation from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon.  The purpose of this SIMPCO Region U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Economic Development Study is to develop collaborative strategies to:

  1. Enhance the SIMPCO region’s prosperity through the promotion of the U.S. Highway 20 corridor and marketing of the communities on a regional level
  2. Promote commerce and industry along the U.S. Highway 20 corridor and increase the capacity of the region to promote job creation and private investment in the regional economy
  3. Inform community stakeholders of the economic development strengths, potential, opportunities, and assessment of specific development sites and future projects for consideration
  4. Facilitate collaboration between multiple dedicated stakeholders by identifying economic development partners, providing opportunities to network and facilitating private-public partnerships

Recommendation: To implement the recommended strategies identified in the study in the following topics: Region Context, Economic Development Partners, Community Identity, Transportation and Utilities, Cluster Analysis, and Site Selection.

Future Impact: 

  • A record of the 5-County study region’s context and economic development indicator’s that act as benchmarks for future comparison and measurement of the impact of the U.S. Highway 20 corridor conversion completion in the region.  Indicators include population demographics, wages, number of jobs, cost of living, Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT), commuting trends, and an inventory of transportation and utility infrastructure.
  • A catalog of the 5-County study region’s Economic Development Partners for future collaboration and initiatives
  • An inventory of the participating sponsors community identities for marketing of the communities on a regional level
  • Cluster Analysis of the 5-County study region to increase the economic development capacity of the region, promote job creation and promote private investment in the regional economy
  • An inventory of the existing available sites and buildings in the region to promote private investment, commerce and industry along the U.S. Highway 20 corridor and site development opportunities for future consideration
  • Identified economic development strategies for implementation and consideration
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in the region

To view the U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Economic Development Study: click here


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Ute, Iowa to complete the 2018 Comprehensive Plan

Plan Purpose: The 2018 Ute Comprehensive Plan was developed to provide a current inventory of community resources and a thoughtful statement of the community’s vision and goals for the future. The plan incorporated public participation and includes analysis of the following planning topics: Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Community Facilities and Service, Land Use, and Natural Resources. The plan can inform grant applications, leverage funding for community projects, provide legal justification for community decisions, and ensure that local policies are in step with planning best practices.

Recommendation: To implement the Comprehensive Plan goals and action steps identified in the following topics: Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Community Facilities and Services, Land Use, Natural Resources. 

Future Impact:

  • A better understanding of community profile, resources, vision, and goals
  • Identified goals and action steps for community betterment projects
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Ute

View the 2018 Ute Comprehensive Plan

To learn more, contact Nicole Peterson, SIMPCO Regional Planner.


Success Story: SIMPCO completes two Region IV Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) projects for FFY 2018.

Project Background:  

Region IV LEPC includes the Emergency Management Agencies (EMA) and response teams for all of SIMPCO’s Iowa counties.  The LEPC is responsible for the designation of Department of Homeland Security Funds as awarded annually to address planning and training needs in light of the potential for transportation-related hazardous materials incidents.  For the 2018 Federal fiscal year, the LEPC included a Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study (HMCF) and Phase II of the LEPC GIS Mapping Project among its eligible projects, both contracted for completion by SIMPCO.

Project Purpose:  

A Northwest Iowa Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow study was last completed in 2007 with an update provided in 2012.  Due to drastic changes in local business and economic development, the LEPC determined that the changes in commodities traveling into, out of, within and through its five-county jurisdiction significantly impact the probability of a transportation-related incident involving hazardous materials.  As a result, an accurate assessment of current commodity flows was deemed necessary.

The LEPC GIS Mapping project began in FFY 2017 with the primary intent of creating an interactive app allowing access to incident maps for EMA Coordinators while in the field in the event of a hazardous material incident.  The application includes information not available publicly and allows the user to determine the level of information needed, eliminating excessive information for a given incident.  Phase II as completed for FFY 2018 included updates to all stored information including Tier II Facilities, Leak and Spill Incidents, and Contaminated Site data.  New for Phase II are direct links to hundreds of chemical-specific response sites enabling one-click connections rather than requiring the user to conduct an independent search.

Future Impact:  

Data analysis specific to the Region enables focused training and planning efforts benefiting area response teams.  The 2018 HMCF Study provides the LEPC with a summary of findings and recommendations to ensure practical application of the information provided.  The incident mapping program facilitates in-time decisions using a compilation of multiple data systems providing as much information as possible to the EMA Coordinator while in the field, including detailed boundaries for evacuations, where responders may previously have been limited to screenshots sent via email.  Incorporating current and relevant data into annual projects optimizes response efforts in the LEPC’s primary mission – to reduce the loss of life and damage to property in the event of a transportation-related hazardous materials incident.

For more information regarding LEPC, please contact SIMPCO Regional Planner, Dawn Kimmel.


Success StorySIMPCO collaborated with the City of Kingsley to complete owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects utilizing TIF.

Project Background:  When a city utilizes Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to support development, a percentage of the incremental revenues generated by the project must be used to provide assistance to low-and-moderate income (LMI) families.

The City of Kingsley has had several projects that utilized TIF which created a fund for LMI Housing activities to be carried out. The City elected to utilize the funds as a grant for direct low-to-moderate income owner-occupied housing rehabilitation.

Project Purpose:  The purpose of the Housing Rehabilitation Program is to assist income eligible homeowners with necessary health or safety repairs to allow the owner to continue living in the home. As well as provide energy and resource conservation.

Carrying out housing rehabilitation activities is to preserve the housing stock in our communities while ensuring that members of the community are living in safe and habitable environments.
Future Impact:  The program in Kingsley has assisted eight homeowners to date. Rehabilitation items included: roofs, siding, windows, electrical, plumbing, and radon mediation. Program participants were able to partner with USDA-Rural Development and the Western Iowa Community Improvement Regional Housing Trust Fund to complete projects.

To find out more, or to inquire how your community can participate in owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects, contact Amanda Harper, SIMPCO Housing Specialist.


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Mapleton, Jeffery L. Bruce Company, Iowa State University, Trees Forever, local volunteers and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete the Westside stormwater improvements through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds

Photo credit: Eric Doll, Jeffery L. Bruce Company (Plant installation)

Project Background: 

  • In April 2011, the Mapleton community was directly struck by an F3 tornado, which damaged 50% of the town. The heaviest damage was in the Westside Neighborhood, leveling or damaging homes, trees and businesses. With this severe damage in the Westside and the shallow depth of the water table, severe flooding events started to happen.
  • The community formed the Mapleton Rebuild and Recover committee to help transform the community to start an exhaustive planning process to prioritize projects that were needed to rebuild the community.
  • In 2013 the community partnered with Jeffery L. Bruce Company, Iowa State University, Trees Forever, and Iowa DOT as part of Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program. Through a series of workshops, they developed a rebuilding plan. One of the key findings of this plan was that the majority of Mapleton’s surface runoff flows through the Westside neighborhood.

Project Purpose: 

The purpose of the project was to utilize CDBG funds, various other grant funding, local funds, and volunteer help to implement bio-infiltration trenches and surface treatment best management practices in the Westside neighborhood.

Photo credit: Jake Heil (3 weeks after plant install)

Future Impact:

  • Creating new and improved living environment for Mapleton’s Westside neighborhood, as a progressive, vibrant and peaceful place to live.
  • The project will pave the way for additional rebuilding projects to occur, complete streets and integrated green infrastructure improvements, and to help mitigate stormwater run-off.

Help infill housing on the Westside to help meet housing supply demands.

Photo credit: Jake Heil (3 weeks after plant install)

Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with City and County officials to complete 2018 Comprehensive Plan for Ida Grove, Iowa

Plan Purpose:

  • The 2018 Ida Grove Comprehensive Plan was developed to provide a current inventory of community resources and a thoughtful statement of the community’s vision and goals for the future.  The plan incorporated public participation and includes analysis of the following planning topics:  Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Community Facilities and Services, Land Use, and Natural Resources.  The plan can inform grant applications, leverage funding for community projects, provide legal justification for community decisions, and ensure that local policies are in step with planning best practices.

Recommendation:

  • To implement the Comprehensive Plan goals and action steps identified in the following topics:  Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Community Facilities and Services, Land Use, and Natural Resources.

Future Impact:

  • Better understanding of community resources, vision, and goals
  • Identified goals and action steps for community betterment projects
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Ida Grove

Click here to view the 2018 Ida Grove Comprehensive Plan.


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with County and City officials to complete a Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan for Dakota County, Nebraska

Plan Purpose:

  • The Dakota County Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan was structured to provide economic development strategies that are tailored towards prosperity, promoting commerce and industry, supporting business retention, recruitment, expansion, enhancing workforce development, and exploring select commercial and industrial sites.

Recommendations:

  • To create an economic development group amongst City officials, County officials, and leading businesses in Dakota County.
  • Continue exploring potential commercial and industrial sites for future development.

Future Impact:

  • Stronger relationships and collaborative efforts amongst communities, businesses, and residents.
  • Identified commercial and industrial sites for development.
  • New businesses, a prospering economy, desirable working environment, and a unified County.

View the Dakota County Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan.


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